Friday, June 28, 2024

Cave In Rock Ferry owner issues statement

With negotiations continuing ahead of expiration of the current ferry contract, Cave In Rock Ferry owner Lonnie Lewis issued a statement today just before 5pm. The ferry's two-year contract expires Sunday. 

Following is the news release issued today.


Since October 1994, Lonnie Ray Lewis, Inc., a private Kentucky Corporation owned solely by long-time Hardin County, IL resident, Lonnie Ray Lewis, has owned and operated the Cave-In-Rock Ferry (the “Ferry”).  During this time, generations of farmers, truck drivers, travelers, tourists and local residents have used the Ferry at no cost.  Hundreds of thousands of vehicles have used the Ferry over the years.  

The current biennial contract for FY25-26 between Lonnie Ray Lewis, Inc. and the Ohio River Ferry Authority, Inc. expires on June 30, 2024.  While negotiations are ongoing, no agreement has been reached.  Contrary to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s recent press releases, I, Lonnie Ray Lewis, compromised significantly by accepting the contract price requested by the KYTC, even though I was advised that accepting that price could subject me to undue risk under the contract as modified by the KYTC.  All that I am asking is that the KYTC agree to abide by essentially the same basic contract terms that the Ferry and the KYTC agreed to in the July 1, 2018 Contract, which were slightly modified in the July 1, 2020 Contract and the July 1, 2022 Contract.  However, instead of the KYTC agreeing to use contract terms that it previously agreed to use, the KYTC is insisting on including additional contract terms that are unacceptable and inappropriate for a private business such as the Ferry.

For 16 hours per day, seven days per week, for nearly 30 years, I have put my heart and soul to make sure that the Ferry is safe and operational for all to enjoy and benefit from.  My offer to continue operations under the terms of the prior contracts that both parties previously agreed to, at the price established by the KYTC, is very reasonable.  However, to date, the KYTC has rejected my offer.

While I remain optimistic that acceptable terms can be reached to prevent an interruption in Ferry service, if an agreement cannot be reached, the Ferry’s last trip will depart the Kentucky side of the Ohio River at approximately 9:50 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, 2024.   

Lonnie Ray Lewis